As a world center for culture, food, and fashion, Paris excites with such well-known sites as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre. But after you’ve seen all the standard tourist spots, you can enjoy the following unique attractions of this amazing city.
Museum of Fairground Arts
At the Museum of Fairground Arts, you won’t mind getting taken for a ride on an amusement attraction from 1850 to 1950. Try out the Manège vélocipédique, which puts you on a merry-go-round of bicycles that move only when everybody pedals. You can also listen to a mechanical organ from 1905. To visit, you need to reserve in advance for an English-speaking tour unless you’re coming for the self-guided tours during European Heritage Days in September and the Festival of the Marvelous during the last week of December.
France is renowned for the quality of its wines and if you want a glimpse of where this ambrosia comes from, head to the back of Sacré-Coueur. Hidden among the quaint buildings and charming cobblestone streets is one of the last remaining vineyards in the city, Le Clos Montmartre. They’ve been cultivating vines here since at least 944 AD, although the history of viticulture goes back to Roman times. Most of the year, you can only spy the growth through metal grates. However, during the Festival of the Gardens at the beginning of fall, the vineyard opens to the public.
Oldest House in Paris
Given that Paris is over 2,000 years old, it’s a little surprising that its oldest house dates back only to 1407. At 51 Rue de Montmorency in the Marais, you can check out the home of an alchemist, Nicholas Flamel, who supposedly could transmute lead into gold. If the guy sounds familiar, he shows up in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The structure also served as a home for the poor who had to pray to stay. You can check out the much-renovated interior, which is now a Michelin-starred bistro called Auberge Nicolas Flamel.
Did you know that Paris has a lively beach scene that includes sunbathing by the sparkling waters of the Seine? But only during July and August during the Paris Plages. Sand has been carted into several locations by the river since 2022 to comfort city dwellers who could not travel to the seaside. The sand, sun umbrellas, palm trees, and deck chairs are free to visit. However, you’re not in the Cote d’Azur, so no topless sunbathing, and don’t even think about jumping into the water.
The creep factor is high, but so is the history of the Catacombs, a collection of skulls and bones belonging to six or seven million former city residents. You’ll only get to see a small portion of the Denfert-Rochereau Ossuary. It appeared under the city in the 18th century when the deceased were discretely transferred from overcrowded cemeteries above-ground to the tunnels of former quarries. Buy your tickets ahead of time or you’ll have to wait in line for over an hour. Leave your luggage at home. They’re not allowed on the premises and there are no storage lockers.